The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

ADVANCE Omega ULS 23




First here is some information from ADVANCE : 



Question: What would be the differences between the different past versions of the OMEGA? …3-4 you made in the past 2 years?


Email reply:

Valery Chapuis (ADVANCE): The new wing is called the OMEGA ULS and was certified in March. We developed it together with our X-Alps pilots because this wing is made for them first. It is the best compromise for the preferences of all these athletes.

There are differences between the OMEGA ULS and the previous OMEGA X-Alps 4 (that we didn’t launch in the market 2 years ago due to lack of production capacity - Covid). The new one is about 250 g lighter and more compact to pack. An improved interior structure and optimized Nitinol wires have contributed to this. The OMEGA ULS also has a higher top speed and a noticeably better glide over the entire polar curve. It is also easier and has smoother handling. The aspect ratio is a little bit smaller (6,8 VS 6,95). There is also one more size, so the OMEGA ULS is now available in sizes 21, 22, 23, and 24.

The gliders that our athletes used at the X-Alps are identical to the serial model in terms of construction and trim, however, lighter materials with clearly limited longevity were used in some areas and an ultra-lighter riser with more difficult handling is fitted.

All the work we have done on the profile and the structure of the OMEGA ULS will go into the new gliders. With this, we can influence the weight of a glider for example.

With my best regards. Fly well and take care.

ValΓ©ry

Team ADVANCE




ADVANCE Omega ULS     ( The white light )

Disclaimer:

Please note again… that tests will always differ with other sizes. At first, if flown with seatless harnesses, or must I say a completely different harness. Also if the same sizes are flown at different loads, lighter loads will get the weakest climb but will be penalized in control in heavy air or pushing through a heavy airmass. Bigger sizes have more gliding performance and also better climb in weak conditions.  In my small tests, I always state the size, the total flying weight, and afterward IMHO, the optimum weight I found in that particular glider.



The Omega ULS has already won the toughest X Alps 2023 race, and in that particular race flying hours were the most logged in sometimes very harsh conditions.

This time, I got the Omega ULS in size 23 which goes to 100, but ADVANCE recommends an optimum range from 88 to 98 all up. I flew the ULS at 90, 93, 94, 97 all up and I think the sweet spot is around 93-94 for practically all-around conditions. If you need to get even more efficiency in entering a strong and heavy airmass, then 97, 98 could be also more beneficial. 


Typically ADVANCE, the construction, and details are really impressive, clean, neat, and light cloth, even the risers (PES/Technora 12mm) feel very light, which sometimes, it imposes you to treat her with finesse. Here’s the link for the ADVANCE page for a clearer explanation:

https://www.advance.swiss/en/products/paragliders/omega-uls


Launching the light ULS is super easy even in no wind and without any delay. It rises smoothly and evenly, with no hard point no snaking around, just as easy as it gets with its 6.8 aspect ratio. 


In the air, the brake length has a 15 cm gap after the pulleys and they need around 20 to 30 cm to steer the glider in all conditions. They have a moderate length, but …as agile as you could dream for a 6.8 AR glider! I could place the Omega ULS in rough air whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted ! and that is a blessing to those gliders. The brake length is around 5 cm longer than the Artik R size 23 at 94, and 10 cm shorter than the Photon MS at 94, (but much more reactive to brake inputs!) In the ULS case, I try to fly with a half wrap all the time except when I’m on the speed bar of course, and that gave me a superb authority on the brakes. The pressure however is on the moderate/light side. Slightly lighter and smoother than the Artik R, Photon, Bonanza 3, and Trango X, and also slightly lighter than the Omega 3 in size 22 flown at 85 all up. 

So, we have a light to moderate when we pull past 40 cm with amazing agility letting the pilot enjoy every thermal! 



Inside a thermal core, the ULS has the ability to narrow the turning radius, as some low aspect high B’s!  

The Omega ULS enters gently moderate thermal stays in the core easily without any useless and excessive movements. 

A really nice glider to thermal with.  


I flew in different areas from rough conditions in our high mountains to some other spots with +35 C, warm air with turbulence, and #$@^#& conditions! ;-) 


And also, in some quite nice conditions, with good thermals, nice cloud bases, and even after hours under the Omega ULS, you just wish it never ends!  


In strong conditions, the Omega ULS moves as a completely whole structure. The feel of a light but very well-taught and balanced structure overhead gives the pilot a high passive safety feel. In strong punchy cores, the ULS has of course some dynamic movements for that class, especially if you are flying it above 3000m where the air is thinner and logically more dynamic. But the brake authority can stop any surge promptly and adjust all the movements of the glider. In my flying hours under it, I never sensed any awkward feel or strange movement underneath. The roll is well-balanced and quite comfortable for that class. The pitch behavior is quite tamed but surely in strong air the pilot has a high authority to catch any dynamic surges with the brakes. 



In terms of pilot demands, I can say the Omega ULS needs slightly more active control than the EN-C’s like Artik R, Trango X, Photon..etc, and of course less workout than the Xc Racer 2. So it seems to be in that middle for accessibility. Could be similar to fly than the Light Mantra 7 but with a more coherent structure.



The Omega ULS has a sensitive weight approach. For example, if you fly it at its sweet spot around 93-94 all up, the climbing abilities in weak air are very good.  As well as in stronger cores, the handling and agility will keep you rocketing upward. 


Now for the gliding part, I made some glides with the latest high-end EN-D’s like Zeno 2 MS, XC racer 2 (95 max), and also with some new EN-C’s like the Photon MS. 

After some glides (in calm air), I can clearly say that I was really impressed by that glider! The glide at trim and especially at full bar which gave me around 15 km’h over trim on that version, is nothing but excellent! If the D gliders match the full speed of the Omega ULS, then it's a draw! YES … The Omega ULS glide matches the 7 AR EN-Ds! … And that you can try! 


Now for the professional approach, if you are flying an OMEGA ULS and you are pinned in a low strong valley breeze, and next to you there’s a high-end EN-D like the Zeno 2, XC racer 2 for example, then they will logically prevail by moving faster into that heavy airmass and digging and slipping through more efficiently just because the high aspect EN-D’s are built with long rods complex structures and built without weight compromises and aimed for racing.

But that Omega ULS with refined and engineered construction designed for XC hike and fly, will never be far as it glides extremely well! 



Pushing on the speed bar and if correctly tuned with some harnesses, one step, can close both pulleys. 

I personally tuned it to have two steps and push half the speed, the Omega ULS movements in turbulent air seem calmer. At the second step with pulleys overlapping, the Omega ULS is very taught, with no airfoil fluttering at all! it feels very solid, and surprisingly, with little time under it, the Omega ULS will give you that passive feel to keep the speed bar on if you need it sometimes.

The B steering with moderate pressure is very efficient and will keep the glider on its path through turbulence. The pressure on the B’s is quite moderate and controls the glider's movements accurately.


Ears are stable with outer A’s, they reopen slowly with a little help. 


Conclusion:

The Omega ULS, is a light, agile, well-balanced 6.8 aspect ratio EN-D with a high-performance package.

I can only imagine that after test-flying it, many pilots aiming for that class will eventually get hooked and will fly the Omega ULS for years to come. 

 

Friday, July 14, 2023

SUPAIR Step X size 80-100



Disclaimer:

Please note again… that tests will always differ with other sizes. At first, if flown with seatless harnesses, or must I say a completely different harness. Also if the same sizes are flown at different loads, lighter loads will get the weakest climb but will be penalized in control in heavy air or pushing through a heavy airmass. Bigger sizes have more gliding performance and also better climb in weak conditions.  In my small tests, I always state the size, the total flying weight, and afterward IMHO, the optimum weight I found in that particular glider.



SUPAIR Step X  size M flown from 93 to 97 all up. 


The Step X is the new 2023 high EN-B from Supair. I will let you visit their website for the construction details and materials. https://supair.com/en/produit/aile-parapente-supair-en-b-step-cross/


The Step X has an aspect ratio of 5.65 made with Dominico, has 3 rows of lines, and the overall weight of the M size is around 4.3 kg with very nice construction details! 

It is a relatively light EN-B and launches easily without any wind without any hard point. A straightforward glider to launch. In the stronger breeze, I didn’t find any nervousness or dynamic surges, but a smooth and easy-to-launch glider.


I flew the Step X at 97 all up in one turbulent very strong day, in our Cedars range (Explained down below) 


Comfort and accessibility.

I found that the Step-X managed well all the harsh conditions without any tip fluttering, and still delivered a very prompt brake authority for the pilot to stay in control. Alternating flights and test flying the Mentor 7, I think that the Step-X is also a highly comfortable glider for that category! I was really surprised by the educated feedback and balanced movements of the Step-X in overall conditions. The Step X has slightly more feel than the Mentor 7 while remaining very comfortable to fly.  To place it even further, I think it resembles the Swift 6 accessibility for the same size. 


Handling and agility:

The brake length on the Step X is slightly longer than the Mentor 7 and slightly less than the Swift 6, which place it in the sweet spot. You need just around 15 to 20 cm to steer the glider after the first 10 cm gap. 

The Step X is quite an agile glider and coring tight thermals are easily doable. The pressure is on the moderate side with its effective brake range to control the surges in active air, and flying it for hours is not tiring for the arms. 

While the Maestro 2 could deliver more dynamic handling, the Step X is close in agility while being more user-friendly for the new high B pilot in that class, and calmer in thermals while coring every bit of lift.


Climb rate:

I flew next to higher-rated 2-liner C class gliders in thermals, and the climb rate in weak thermals was very good on Step X around 95 all up. It floats well! For real, this glider climbs very well comparing it with the B class.

It is for sure slower to enter the airmass as the 2 liners but for a high B with 3 lines, it climbs extremely well! 


Gliding through the moving airmass and comparing it to other high B’s the Step X showed me also that it matches the best ones out there! Usually, when a glider has fewer lines like 2.5 ..etc..they should glide more, but flying the Step X near, I didn’t notice any disadvantages… What can I say…when a new creation seems really good and competitive!  I was impressed! 

I will update my B comparison for the little details in climb and glide, but I confirm that the Step X has a very efficient glide through the airmass for the high B category. 


The speed bar has a moderate pressure, and the C steering has acceptable efficiency while on the bar for the 3 liners glider. Perhaps the Maestro 2 and the Rush 6, have swifter C controls, but nevertheless, the Step C controls are manageable and easy to use to control the overall movements. 


The top speed is around 12 km/h over trim. 


Ears are stable and reopen without pilot intervention. 


Conclusion: 

The Step X can be flown easily at 93 all up but it would be slow to enter the airmass. I found out at 95 to be nice overall, and to be even more efficient and more compact with good penetration fly it at 97,98. 

When a product is nice, readers are expecting the testers to find the negative points, when they are difficult to find… My B comparison will shortly be updated. 

Easily placed among the high B’s in terms of good overall performance, the Step X is an enjoyable glider to fly while being well-balanced and quite comfortable during long XCs. The passive safety seems quite high for that category delivering a solid and light-to-carry companion for your adventures. Supair never stopped to amaze me… It would be quite an interesting high B to test fly! 




Cedars range: 

 Cedars range divides the country in half horizontally from north to South. The peaks are facing east and west. They reside above the very hot Bekaa Valley, situated inland of the country. If the thermal breeze is from the west, you will get nice conditions, but if it comes from the east, which it always does afternoon, then the challenge arises especially at noon, and preferable to fly only hang gliders as the very strong breeze literally limit your forward speed with sudden powerful thermals, and since taking off from the east side, a mix of strong valley east breeze and southwesterly wind coming from the sea side toward inland makes the word turbulence a bit undermined …   

When I fly gliders there, I often feel many times I’m just a puppet underneath even on the easiest glider!  Not a good feeling as sometimes, the workloads are extreme and need lots of endurance over the time spent and quite tiring.  At 11 am +6 m/s thermals are common, with a high cloud base over 4500 m, but since there’s a commercial flight line passing over from 4000 m and up, so controlling your height is also very crucial!  

Flying 2 hours from sunset to dark is the best experience a pilot would have. Smooth lift everywhere with a high cloud base.